A quantitative study of the regional cerebral responses to non-painful and painful thermal stimuli in six normal volunteers has been done by monitoring serial measurements of regional blood flow measured by positron emission tomography (PET). In comparison to a baseline of warm stimulation no statistically significant changes in blood flow were seen in relation to increasing non-painful heat. However, highly significant increases in blood flow were seen in response to painful heat in comparison to non-painful heat. These changes were in the contralateral cingulate cortex, thalamus and lenticular nucleus. These findings are discussed in relation to previous physiological observations of responses to nociceptive stimuli in man and primates.